I never thought I would be divorced. Marriage was for life. Or so I thought. Or so we thought. It was a holy expectation, a deep commitment to the lifelong. Through better and worse. Through the drama and mundane of life. We made vows before God and family and friends. We uttered them meaningfully.Read more
Divorce is one of the most deeply painful experiences you can go through in your life. This is true if you were the one left behind or if you decided to end the marriage. Even if the end was a long time coming, and somewhat inevitable, what often surprises people is how heartbroken they feel when the end actually comes.
Divorce is a death – the death of your marriage and all the hopes and dreams you had of “happily ever after.” With the death of your marriage comes a whole host of secondary losses. Grief comes knocking at your door, insisting to be let in whether you want to or not.Read more
I’m writing this at the end of 2016, which carried the sad news of the death of Carrie Fisher. She left us all too soon at the age of 60 – and what was tragically to follow a few days later was the death of her mother, Debbie Reynolds.
This led me to ponder the question, “Can you really die of a broken heart?” It certainly seems to be so given these events.Read more
I want to say something about the shape of grief. Grief is not linear. It’s not a rectangle, either. It doesn't behave itself and stay within a neat box of “stages.” You don't go “through” it like passing through another country on your way home, never to return. I hear so many of my clients exclaim, “Oh no, I thought I was done with this,” when they are experiencing a grief trigger. This is especially daunting when it happens several years after their loss, just when they think they are emotionally in the clear and the crying is behind them.
The reality is, when you are grieving, you can feel like you are going through the same feelings over and over again. It can be so discouraging and frightening to feel like you are in an endless loop of pain and sorrow. There's another way to look at grief that I hope you will find helpful...Read more
I want to talk about endings today. This is a topic that either nobody wants to talk about or that people just can’t shut up about. We’ve all experienced them. Your relationship ends in separation, the job you quit (or got fired from), your daughter moves out to go to college (or move in with her boyfriend, or both), the move cross-country to a place you’d never been – you know what I’m talking about because you’ve been there.
In this world, all things come to an end. Endings are usually seen as unpleasant, as bad, and we’re generally very upset about them. What I see a lot of in my coaching practice are the most devastating types of endings – the ones we don’t choose ourselves – the death of a spouse or child, the divorce we didn’t see coming, getting fired/laid off, the debilitating illness that threatens to take everything away.Read more
It’s been reported that it takes people 5-8 years, on average, to recover from a devastating loss.
Dealing with loss leaves you vulnerable to developing depression or anxiety disorders, or increasing dependency on drugs or alcohol as a means to cope. These more serious conditions often lead people to seek treatment from a therapist or counselor, and there are many, many excellent, dedicated professionals to which you can turn to get the help you need if that is what you are going through.
However, most of the people I speak with about their loss are experiencing the normal, natural responses to loss – and that is grief.Read more
The ability of music, sound, and harmony to heal the body, mind, and emotions has been recognized as far back as ancient civilizations of Greece. The field of Music Therapy is a widely recognized field and has applications in hospitals, hospices, and institutional settings.
I have been involved with music for almost all of my life. My mother had a small collection of classical music records that, even as a young child, I listened to, over and over. I started playing the piano when I was 8, but it was the day that my band instructor placed a French horn in my hands that the love affair with music really took hold.Read more
We all have our emotional ups and downs – highs and lows, peaks and valleys. And, when you are dealing with loss and grief, it seems like you get to spend a lot of time in the valleys. Not everyone experiences anger as part of their grieving processes, but many do, and part of what is distressing is that your anger can come out of nowhere when you least expect it. It can be upsetting to feel anger towards yourself, the person who left, the doctors, the courts, at God even. Know that anger is a normal and understandable emotion at this time, because of the extreme stress you are dealing with.
Underneath it all is pain and a sense of a loss of control. Nothing is as it should be. It’s as though a typhoon has blown through your consciousness and you know your life will never be the same again. You didn’t ask for this.Read more
These are the days of tweeting, blogging, posting, instagraming, you name it. Everyone seems to be doing it. Some people seem very comfortable expressing every morsel of their living and breathing and eating into the world. Not that this isn’t totally fascinating to the one sharing, but most people (including me) don’t care about what you ate for breakfast, who you ate it with, and what you were wearing. However, when someone writes with a raw vulnerability, expressing with exquisite clarity a thought or feeling that I recognize in myself, I tend to sit up and take notice. Truth has a way of getting your attention.Read more
Loneliness can be dealt with in many ways, and the attitude you have towards yourself and the vulnerability that this feeling produces has a lot to do with how much suffering you will assign to it. What do I mean by that?Read more